The Cleveland Cavaliers drop their opening game of the playoffs to the Indiana Pacers, 98-80. This was the first time in 21 games a LeBron James led team lost a first round game.
Post game, LeBron James said on his team being down 0-1, “I’m down 0-1 in the first round, I was down 3-1 in the Finals, I’m the last guy to ask about next game preparations.”. Ty Lue on the Pacers suffocating defense chipped in, “They came in, they were more physical, and in the playoffs usually those teams win”.
The Pacers walked into Quicken Loans Arena and looked like the better team, as they blitz the Cavs from beginning to end. This was not helped by the Cavaliers inability to make a three pointer as the team went a collected 8 of 34 on three point attempts.
LeBron James finished the game with a triple double as he went for 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. The next highest scoring Cavalier was J.R. Smith, who finished with 15 points off the bench.
In the first quarter, the pace was as quick as you’d have expected. The Pacers seemed to be the ones more locked in though as they went on a tear, finishing the quarter up 19 points.
This continued all the way to halftime, as the Pacers were up 55-38. This was spearheaded by Victor Oladipo continuing to put pressure on the Cavs defense.
The second half was much of the same for the beginning of the third quarter. The Pacers managed to increase their lead to as high as 23 points. Then the Cavs began their comeback.
This was a repeat of last season, when the Cavs came back from 26 down to defeat the Pacers in game 3 of the opening round. The Cavs got within 7 points off of a Kevin Love four point play opportunity. Then the Pacers put an end to that.
Each time the Cavaliers seemed to get close, they couldn’t get over the hurdle. The Pacers continued to make shots as the everybody not named J.R. Smith, continued to struggle from the perimeter.
Victor Oladipo showed why he was an All-Star this year. He finished the game with 32 points on 58% shooting from the field. He constantly split the Cavs trap on pick and rolls, and also showed his defensive abilities with four steals.
The Cavaliers find themselves in unfamiliar territory, and will have to win a game in Indiana to take back home court advantage. It is easy to say that it is not expected for the Cavaliers to match their season low shooting and offensive rating percentages, but these Pacers cannot be overlooked as they made that clear in game one.
Once a slogan, now turns into reality as the Cavaliers will now have to do “Whatever It Takes” in order to reach the finals once again.